Discover The Best Beer With Fried Chicken

Are you looking for the best-fried chicken and ice-cold beer combo? We will guide you on choosing the perfect beer to compliment spicy fried chicken, turning this classic comfort food into an unforgettable dining experience. Join us in exploring beer’s distinctive role in  blending well with spices used in popular fried chicken dishes across the U.S.

The Best Types Of Beer To Compliment Fried Chicken

From Pabst Blue Ribbon to stouts and wheat beers, a wide variety of beer styles pair perfectly with fried chicken.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Rich History and Affordable Price

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Pabst Blue Ribbon

  • Classic American beer with a rich history
  • Crisp and clean taste, easy to drink
  • Affordable option for many beer lovers.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is a classic American beer that has existed since 1844. Its smooth taste and subtle sweetness makes one of the best beer with fried chicken.

This beer also stands out from other beers due to its 4.6% ABV making it more sessionable during extended meals or when enjoying the company of friends. The malt flavor profile of this beer complements the crispiness of fried chicken perfectly. At the same time, the slight caramel notes give each piece of chicken and added richness without overwhelming the dish’s natural flavors.

It can also help cut through some of the greases one might expect with a friend’s poultry dish while boosting carbonation levels to refresh your palate between bites.

Pale Ales

Pale Ales are the ideal beer for fried chicken due to their light and crisp flavor profile. They have a subtle hoppy aroma, balanced with a malt sweetness that perfectly complements the savory notes of crispy fried chicken.

Popular brands such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Boulevard Wheat, or Pabst Blue Ribbon provide crisp bitterness and concentrated flavoring that enhances rather than overwhelms the flavors of fried food.

Most pale ales contain an ABV (Alcohol by Volume) ranging from 5 to 6%, retaining enough carbonation and effervescence to refresh your palate between bites without overwhelming other delicate flavors.

To further augment these pairings, add spices like ginger or garlic powder while frying to bring out earthy tones from each pour of pale ale.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Best American Pale Ales

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

  • Iconic American craft beer
  • Well-balanced hoppy flavor with a hint of citrus
  • Pairs well with a variety of foods, from burgers to spicy dishes.

is a classic American-style Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. This popular beer has an amber hue and features prominent flavors of citrus, caramel malt, and subtle floral hops.

It’s slightly sweet with ample carbonation for a light but flavorful finish. Its malty overtones make it the perfect complement to fried chicken – the combination of sugar and bitterness balancing each other out when combined with the savory flavor profile of fried chicken.

Boulevard Wheat

Easy-drinking Wheat Beer

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Boulevard Wheat

  • Refreshing and easy to drink.
  • Features a mix of citrus and spicy notes.
  • Made with 100% American wheat and barley.
  • Perfect for outdoor activities or sipping in a hot summer day.
  • Suitable to pair with a variety of food, including salads, seafood, and grilled meats.

Boulevard Wheat is a light, crisp wheat beer brewed in Kansas City and has a unique flavor profile of subtly sweet maltiness, spicy hop notes, and a hint of citrus.

These characteristics make it an excellent choice for pairing with fried chicken due to its balanced flavors. The mellow sweetness creates balance in the savory elements found in the fried chicken while providing refreshment from the greasy texture.

At 4.4% ABV, Boulevard Wheat also provides enough body and character to stand up against heartier dishes like fried chicken without being too heavy on the palate or overwhelming more delicate ingredients often used when making this classic dish.

Light Lagers

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Bud Light

  • Refreshing taste
  • Low calorie (110 calories per 12 oz. serving)
  • Widely available

Light lagers are an excellent choice for pairing with fried chicken. The lager’s light, crisp, and slightly hoppy flavor complements fried chicken’s savory and salty flavors.

Popular light lagers include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, Bud Light, etc. These beers provide a refreshing balance to rich and greasy fried foods such as fried chicken because they have a mild character that won’t overpower the other flavors in the dish.

Moreover, their carbonation helps to cut through some of the richness in fried foods without making them soggy or cloying on your palate. Though light lagers usually don’t pack much flavor beyond maltiness or hops, accompanying spicy fried chicken can help cool your palate down while allowing you to enjoy all the subtle nuances within each bite.

Brown Ales

Brown ales are known for their intense malty sweetness and nutty and caramel-like flavors, which also make one of the best beer with fried chicken. Their bold, sweet notes work wonderfully in contrast to the spices used often in fried chicken recipes.

Brown Ales also offer a richer body than other beer varieties, making them an ideal beer choice for something more robust. They have traditionally been known to pair well with roasted meats such as pork shoulders or short ribs. They also provide a complimentary taste with vegetable dishes like sautéed mushrooms or many seasonal sides.


Pilsners are a great choice for pairing beer with fried chicken. With a delicious golden hue and robust and distinctive hop aroma and bitterness, these lagers boast a light body that can complement the savory flavors of fried chicken.

Popular pilsner beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Boulevard Wheat all offer crisp hoppiness that pairs well with fried chicken’s juicy, crunchy texture.

Paired together, you get sweet, creamy malt notes alongside bold yet balanced hop character for intriguing ale & food combos with each bite! Additionally, some regions in Germany also specialize in unique dark variety pilsner –— Leikeim’s Black Lager — which works ideal as an accompaniment when frying up unique sauces or spices rubbed kind of friend poultry dishes such as Jamaican jerk-style recipes or Asian twenty spice variations often paired with lots of heat.


IPAs, short for India Pale Ales, are some of the best types of beer to complement the fried chicken. With a hoppier flavor than most other beers, IPAs create a wonderfully crisp and bitter profile that pairs particularly well with fried chicken’s savory spices.

Popular picks like Populist IPA’s spicy bitterness cut through even the saltiest bird. At the same time, Deep Roots ESB adds the hop character of apricot and citrus to balance out fried poultry’s fatty richness.


Iconic and Historic Taste

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Guinness Stout

  • Rich, velvety texture
  • Unique flavor profile
  • Pairs well with hearty dishes
  • Low ABV (alcohol by volume)

Stouts are dark beers known for their robust and full-bodied flavor profile. They have deep, rich notes of coffee, chocolate, roast malt, hops, molasses, and caramel that can bring significant depth to fried chicken.

For folks looking for something a bit stronger or hoppier in an IPA-style stout can opt for imperial stouts, which offer bolder bitterness with intense roasted flavors. Oatmeal stouts balance these strengths with smooth oat sweetness, while sweet stouts include added unfermented sugars making them more flavorful.

A malty foreign export is stout is excellent when you want refreshment, as its medium body pairs nicely with the savoriness of fried chicken without overwhelming it. These beers also come in various pack forms, so you can try different types before settling on your favorite.

Wheat Beers

Wheat beers are light and refreshing, making them the perfect accompaniment to fried chicken. Due to their wheat content and yeasty strains, they offer a deliciously tart yet citrusy flavor.

The most popular wheat beer types include Belgian White Ales, Weizenbiers (German Wheat Beer), Berliner Weisses, American Wheat Beers, Lambics, and Fruited varieties.

The difference between these is mainly in the amount of wheat used – anywhere from 40% to 70%. Wheat beers are generally known for their fruity cereal-esque aromas with spicy hints from noble hops like Saaz or Hallertau when available.

German citizens have fuller bodies than other styles but maintain carbonation to cleanse the palate between food bites.

Benefits Of Beer When Preparing Fried Chicken

When it comes to fried chicken, beer is not only ideal for pairing with this much-loved food but picking a brew you like also grants you additional benefits. In fact, beer’s ability to make fried dishes spectacular goes beyond merely sipping your favourite brew while enjoying delicious spicy chicken. As such, combining beer with your food grants the array of benefits below.

  • Beer-Based Batter for Succulent Fried Chicken

It’s best to use beer as the ideal base in your batter when preparing fried chicken, as the brew helps make the coatings light and crispy. Still-active yeast creates carbon dioxide bubbles in the batter to ensure a crisp crust that locks in the full flavor of chicken when deep frying.

  • Tenderize Chicken with Beer in your Batter

The alcohol in beer helps quickly lossen up tough proteins in the meat as it cooks in hot oil. As a result, coating your chicken with beer batter ensures each bite is uniquely tasty, soft and succulent.

  • Beer in Batter Ideal for Fried Meat Dishes

As mentioned, adding beer to your batter ensures you effectively prevent drying out of meats like chicken by keeping coated pieces moist as they cook. As such, beer-based batter is also great for other fried meat dishes, including beer-battered fish, shrimp, and even moules frites from Belgium.

  • Beer in Waffle Batter for an Unforgettable Breakfast

You can add beer to waffle batter for a spectacular flavor-rich breakfast compromising juicy fried chicken, sausages, and lagers! And that’s not all. 

  • Pair a Tasty Beer Float with Fried Chicken

Last but not least, you can prepare a beer float for pairing with your fried food by adding coffee or vanilla ice cream to a glass of Bell’s craft beer or other brew of your choosing. You then finish off your beer float by sprinkling powdered cocoa, chocolate chips, or other garnish.

Essential Tips on Choosing Your Beer-Fried Chicken Pair

An important food-beer pairing insight that holds true for every beer culture the worldover is that different beers offer varying levels of bitterness alongside sweet maltiness. As such, a particular beers are ideal for beer-chicken combos.

For instance, creamy pilsners are perfect pairing partners to golden-brown drumsticks slathered in Southern Comfort sauce due to their above-average sweetness.

As a die-hard IPA lover, you can choose a brew whose bitter hops suitably compliment the various spicy herbs in many fried chicken recipes, such as when sprinkling cayenne pepper onto coated wings before deep frying.

What’s more, the unique eye appeal of an IPA, coupled with its saporous aroma, makes this beer as essential to a perfect fried chicken as the deep fryer used in cooking this sumptuous meal.

Ultimately, beer emphasizes each flavor in a variety of chicken dishes by introducing a subtle tartness or sharp hoppiness whether you prepare and pair your meal with a hoppy IPA or a milk porter.

Tips For Pairing Beer With Fried Chicken

When selecting the perfect beer to pair with your fried chicken, consider the spices used in the dish, experiment with different beer styles, match the intensity of your fried chicken with a corresponding beer, and consider the dish’s heat level.

Consider The Spices Used In The Fried Chicken

When pairing beer with fried chicken, it’s essential to consider what spices are used in the dish. Different spices can dramatically impact the flavor profile of your fried chicken and the selected beer.

For instance, if you’re preparing spicy fried chicken with cayenne pepper or paprika, IPAs or Pale Ales would pair nicely due to their hoppy flavor, which helps cut through some heat while complementing its spiciness.

Try lighter lagers like Pilsners or Wheat Beers if you prefer milder flavors. These light options leave plenty of room for subtle semi-sweet notes that will not overpower other flavors in the food but add balance to them.

Experiment With Different Beer Styles

When pairing beer with fried chicken, it’s essential to experiment with different types of beers. Each style has distinct characteristics and flavors that can add richness and complexity to the meal.

IPAs are a great choice as they provide floral notes and bitterness that help counterbalance the fat content in the chicken while adding depth of flavor. Pale Ales offer subtle malty sweetness perfect for grilled or lightly seasoned dishes. At the same time, Pilsners provide a light body and mild citrus hop aromas, which work well, particularly with spicy fried chicken.

Brown ales may sound like an odd choice, but their caramel flavor profile helps transform crispy breading into something extraordinary – try one if you’re looking for something special! Lagers offer clean, refreshing crispness that complements any deep-fried dish. At the same time, wheat beers give juicy juiciness and are very enjoyable even on hot summer days when you might otherwise skip out on beer altogether.

Stouts possess roasty charm alongside slight earthy undertones ideal for playing up more decadent pieces such as dark meat cuts coated in thick batters. In contrast, Champagne provides subtle sweetness ideal for cutlets or pullers needing only a little bit more background lift from carbonation than regular lager offers.

Match The Intensity Of The Fried Chicken With The Beer

Pairing beer with fried chicken involves matching the flavors and intensity of the brew and classic comfort food. Generally, this means selecting a beer that can stand up to fried chicken’s heavy spices and savory qualities without overpowering it or introducing conflicting notes.

For example, sweeter beers can help balance the saltiness of over-seasoned poultry. On the other hand, for spicier dishes like Buffalo wings or Nashville hot chicken, opt for IPAs with peppery hoppiness as an accentuating flavor addition.

When going bolder in flavor profile, it’s essential to ensure that neither element dominates too much—a dark lager or brown ale works well here as they both tend to have nuanced layers of sweetness and malt undertones—or their subtle flavors could be flattened out when competing with bolder ingredients.

Additionally, milder styles like pale ales are excellent choices for traditionally flavored fried chicken dishes. They’re usually light enough not to compete but strong enough to hold their own against rich seasonings like garlic powder or smoked paprika.

Consider The Heat Level Of The Dish

When it comes to finding the best beer for fried chicken, it’s essential to consider the heat level of the dish. Spicy or heavily seasoned foods require a different type of beer than milder, as the spice can overwhelm some flavors in certain beers.

Pairing a light ale or lager for spicier dishes is ideal; these more delicate beers will help cut through and counterbalance the heat and provide subtle flavor nuances that spices won’t overpower.

A light body with floral and sour tones are common characteristics that work well with spicy fried chicken dishes. On the other hand, if you’re looking for moisture balance without harshness on your taste buds, opt-in for medium-bodied ales such as Light American Lagers like Budweiser to Boulevard Wheat Beer as they pair perfectly with grilled and crispy-fried foods alike.

Sides And Accompaniments

When pairing beer with fried chicken, it is essential to consider the sides and accompaniments accompanying the dish. Each side should be carefully selected based on its flavor profile and how it complements the type of beer chosen.

For instance, if a light lager or pilsner is chosen to pair with fried chicken, then lighter sides such as salads, steamed vegetables, or fruit can help bring out the subtle bitterness of this type of beer.

On the other hand, darker beers like stouts or brown ales might fare better when paired with more decadent sides like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese because they can provide sweetness and balance out any bitter flavors from dark malts in these beers.

Additionally, spicy dishes work well when paired with IPAs with more hop-forward notes since they complement bitter flavors very well.

Serving Temperature

Serving temperature is an essential factor when pairing beer with fried chicken. Different beer styles react differently to different temperatures, and this can have a dramatic effect on the end result.

Generally speaking, lagers are best served cold, between 36-40°F, for maximum crispness and refreshment. Ales like pale ales, IPAs, and stouts should be served slightly higher in temperature–between 45-55°F–to intensify their flavor profiles.

Brown ales also benefit from being served at cellar temp (around 55°F), as this helps soften the bitterness of hops while allowing malt sweetness to shine through. Lastly, porters should be served around 55-60°F for the optimum richness of flavors without sacrificing drinkability or balance.


The type of glassware used for enjoying a beer with fried chicken can make all the difference in both flavor and aroma experience. Generally, glasses with a wide opening are best to allow the aromas from the beer, fried chicken seasonings, and spices to come alive.

The two most suitable types of glasses when pairing beer with fried chicken include pilsner glasses, which have a tall, somewhat slender shape that amplifies aroma, or tulip-style glasses, which have wider openings at the top and small stems at the bottom perfect for trapping in whiffs of complex formalized flavors before they escape into thin air.

When selecting beers like IPAs or pale ales whose hoppiness may be lost amidst warm earthy notes brought by deep-fried subtleties, using one of these two preferred shapes can help you distinguish delicate elements within each sip as well as maximize roasted depth provided by herbs mixed with breading crumbs usually found on crispy wings and drumsticks parts.


There is no “best” option for pairing beer with fried chicken. Experimentation and keeping factors such as the spices used in the fried chicken, the heat level of the dish, and the serving temperature are all critical to finding a delicious combination you enjoy.

Miller High Life is an approachable go-to choice when it comes to beer-battered foods like fried chicken; pale ales can offer fruity notes that compliment juicy meat, while hoppy beers provide strong flavor and help cut through fats and grease; brown ales create a nice balance with their malty sweetness while light lagers refresh your palate—in short, have fun! 

From Pilsners and IPAs to Stouts or Wheat Beers—from Korean Fried Chicken to Nashville Hot Chicken–the possibilities for creative combos of flavors from beer paired with fried chicken are genuinely endless.


What is the best beer to pair with fried chicken?

Dark ales and lagers, such as a mild porter or stout, are an ideal match for fried chicken due to their flavor intensity and subtle sweetness that complement and contrast the savory flavors of crunchy fried chicken. Wheat beer or pilsner can also be used to enhance the juicy texture of this dish further.

Can other alcoholic beverages work with fried chicken?

Yes! Wine is top-rated when paired with fried chicken – dry rosés, sparkling wines & rieslings tend to go well due to their refreshing acidity. Earthy reds like pinot noir can take your meal up a notch. Letting preference guide you to correct mine, which is right!

Should I choose light or dark beers for my fried Chicken?

It depends on personal preference but lighter beers like pale ales emphasize flavors found in most basic coating recipes, which give them great potential for pairing, while dark ales accentuate spice; as these provide more experienced palates with greater depth and complexity – many people find them preferable accompaniments when combined with traditional Southern style crustings including Cajun spiced plates.

Is there any food benefit from drinking beer paired with Fried Chicken?

Yes! The four main ingredients in any beer – barley, hops, yeast, and water- each contains unique properties that aid digestion & promote healthy eating habits, so it’s enjoyable and beneficial as well, providing benefits such as faster metabolism & improved blood sugar levels.

Dan Smullen Beer is my life profile

Hi, I'm Dan, founder of BeerIsMyLife. I've been an avid homebrewer for over ten years, and beer is my true passion. I've traveled all over the world, visiting breweries, tasting beer, as well as making my own batches. I set up this blog to share that experience with you.